City of Gold on the Yukon River

Our leader puts up with a lot of aggravation and trial from his 75 wards on this caravan. A bunch of over-grown adolescents sometimes, we expect him to keep us happy, let us sleep in, and prevent flat tires and windshield dings. It takes a lot to endure us. We peeked into his Airstream trailer on one driving day’s brief stop and were only mildly surprised to see medication bottles arranged close to his sofa/office.

They call it Dredge #4, not the Debra Ann or Mary Louise or Klondike Spirit. This megaton behemoth dredged the Bonanza Creek concession below Discovery for over forty years. It worked all hours every day non-stop until flood waters from a dam release sunk it in 1957.

Everything about this dredge is huge scale. The machinery behind Deb is a small sample of some of the many large gears and sheaves in this electrically-driven machine.

The post office represents the excellent condition of many of the old buildings in Dawson City. Our group’s walking tour provided guided entry into and narrative about the history and significance of this early extension of the federal government into Yukon Territory’s first capital.

We had an evening dinner cruise on this side-wheeler. The stern-wheeled boats ruled the Yukon River until 1950s when bridges were built locking the big boats in. The boats were beached and abandoned. This side-wheeler is modern, built in the last ten years.

How do you catch a bunch of Airstreamers? Lure them with ice cream cones! Joan and Bill Weber, Sandy and JJ Johnjulio, unidentified, Shelly Randall and Jim Moser sit in front of the ice cream store.

The Commissioner’s house was magnificent in its day and still is. Prominently situated for visibility from arriving boats, the house served to welcome visitors and convey a sense of orderliness and stability for this restless mining town in the early 1900s.

A highlight (should I say “high point”?) of our visit to Dawson City was the trip up Dome Road. We drove 1,800 feet upward above Dawson City for this wonderful view. Paved road all the way up with plenty of room at the top for turnaround, it was easy for us. Not so easy for the hikers.

The hilltop allows this vista of Dawson City

And this one of our silver airstreams filling the campground far below

The idyllic wandering life has its special moments, some more memorable than others. Fortunately for Randy, his two flat tires occurred after he was parked overnight in the campground. He had plenty of time and room to remove and replace them.

Jack London spent a tough year in Dawson City. Poor health and lack of fortune panning for gold drove him south, where he began recounting the many stories he lived and learned here. His cabin was not originally in Dawson City. Dick North moved it here along with a replica food stash.

Dawson City Museum houses curated displays, archive displays, a courtroom, and a theater. The building is over 110 years old, served as territorial government building. We spent enjoyable hours poring through the exhibits and watching Pierre Berton’s 1957 documentary movie, City of Gold.

The only crossing of the Yukon River, this free ferry operates all day on approximately twenty-minute cycles. We rode the ferry across to start our trek from Dawson City to Chicken Alaska. We waited over 4.5 hours in a long line-up for the short trip across the river.

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees

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2 responses to “City of Gold on the Yukon River

  1. When I was in High School (too long ago) I became a Robert Service fan. Our English teacher had us reading, “The Spell of the Yukon & Other Verses”. Is it required reading for Caravan? (If you don’t have a copy, I have two and can save the extra for you.)

    • We ave been treated to several recitations of Robert Service poetry, all enjoyable. And we visited the bank in which he worked and were glad to see his cabin, one of the nicer ones we’ve viewed. Although not large, he had two rooms and a very attractive front porch.

      Jim & Deb

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